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Social Media for Business – Using Facebook Vs Linkedin

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If you’re in business and using Social Media Marketing, the question that’s invariably on your mind is where you should spend your time – LinkedIn or Facebook? Which one of these platforms is likely to get the best results for your business online? Determining your Objectives Before you decide on which platform you should use, take a step back and look within your business. What are your goals? What do you sell? Who is your target market? What is your business culture like? Next you need to understand how these media evolved and which one is the best fit for your business. Facebook evolved from a Social Networking medium for college and University students to a dominant communicat

If you’re in business and using Social Media Marketing, the question that’s invariably on your mind is where you should spend your time – LinkedIn or Facebook? Which one of these platforms is likely to get the best results for your business online?

Determining your Objectives

Before you decide on which platform you should use, take a step back and look within your business. What are your goals? What do you sell? Who is your target market? What is your business culture like?

Next you need to understand how these media evolved and which one is the best fit for your business. Facebook evolved from a Social Networking medium for college and University students to a dominant communication platform that threatens to send emails to the history books.

LinkedIn began as a business network. Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn offered more control and did not allow the posting of photo albums or the ability to openly communicate with contacts. The idea behind LinkedIn was to offer a communication platform that was a lot more professional than it was social.

Open vs Closed Door Communication

Facebook allows members the opportunity for creating individual as well as professional profiles. This is important because in a highly competitive business environment the “trust factor” has become increasingly important. Prospects find it easier to trust a business that opens the door to the “human side of the business” rather than trust a faceless entity.

LinkedIn restricts access to the business owner as it only allows a formal resume to be posted. This does not allow a prospect to really understand the human side of the business or its culture in determining whether it is the right fit. Facebook on the other hand provides far more options to front the business to customers; such as professional profiles, business/fan pages.

For those who are prepared to invest in getting their product or service before highly targeted prospects, Facebook offers the option of paid advertising through Facebook ads, a cost effective alternative to the more traditional paid forms of advertising and even Google adwords. Over 45% of Facebook users are over 35 years of age, just the right demographic for businesses to target. While LinkedIn has introduced Direct Ads, specific demographics cannot be target as well as Facebook Ads.

One of the major benefits of LinkedIn is the access to key managerial staff in the corporate world. With a significant following, business owners can reach a highly targeted list of prospects, Joint Venture partners, job candidates and answers to burning questions from experts in their field. Facebook on the other hand restricts searches to friends. This ability to find business and access key personnel within the organisation gives sales people a big advantage over their competitors who do not make use of this LinkedIn facility.

Gaining Credibility and Trust

The Question/Answer portion of LinkedIn is an excellent way to gain visibility as an expert in one’s field by showcasing one’s knowledge by answering questions that are posted by other members. Regularly posting answers to groups related to specific industries gives credibility to the individual and can significantly impact on the credibility of the business. Another option is to start your own group, the success of which can be monitored by the number of members who join the group and the quality of posts within the group.

On the subject of credibility, another excellent feature of LinkedIn is the “Recommend” feature that allows members to recommend others that they feel are deserving of their praise. This is one of the most powerful ways of gaining credibility as each time a recommendation is made it is posted as an update to other members who are connected.

While it is important to consider the business objectives closely when choosing social media platforms, businesses selling consumer products may find that Facebook is a better option to start with, while businesses targeting other businesses (B2B) should definitely consider LinkedIn as a key tool for making the right connections.

The best choice could be to have a presence on each of these platforms. The greater emphasis should be placed on whichever one is most suited to the business, its products and customers. While Facebook can provide exposure for your brand or service to a large customer base, LinkedIn is invaluable to network and forge relationships with specialists and industry professionals in your niche. No doubt given the speed at which Facebook is growing and adding more features which are business related, this platform will become a strong competitor to Linkedin and others.